A sad day for democracy

As means of a first post, it is only right that I start with the gravest issue of the day – the completion of impeachment proceedings against President Dilma Rousseff.

Democracy has taken a beating across the world in past years, and today is another sad day.

The impeachment of a democratically elected president on utterly spurious grounds – call it conspiracy, parliamentary coup, whatever – has now been consummated, and in doing so, causes serious damage to a young democracy.

Brazil has now only seen four directly elected presidents complete their term since 1930.

The venality of the coup-mongers beggars belief. This is a president who in her second term was largely implementing a centre-right agenda, to the consternation of some to her left. And yet, it seems it was her unwillingness to ‘play the game’ that spurred the impeachment: she refused to protect congressional allies from corruption investigations.

As leaked audio revealed a few months back, this impeachment is to halt the Lava Jato anti-corruption investigations, not part of it. It was a coup for the big media that they succeeded in portraying it otherwise.

What really gave force to this is the dire economic situation in Brazil. This would not be happening otherwise. Ironically, Dilma implemented austerity which the right wanted, and which compounded the downturn. The new usurper government has continued in this vein. This only confirms their cravenness and venality.

However, this is not the termination of political crisis. It only enters a new phase. The unity amongst the pro-impeachment camp will likely wither, with divisions within and between PMDB and PSDB likely to come into the open.

Who knows what the state of protest will be: for the moment, the working-class is quiescent, as are the middle and upper classes who marched ‘against corruption’ (which has revealed itself to be largely partisan – or worse, outrightly anti-political).

But ’corruption’ will not go away without serious political reform. The impeachment does nothing to advance this. Nor, for that matter, does the Lava Jato investigation.

Whatever the case, the solution is not to seek retreat from democracy, empowering the unelected and the unrepresentative. The solution is to deepen democracy.

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